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May 31, 2013

AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD-PREAKNESS

By: JOE GIRARDI


               We have to wait another year to see if we can get our first Triple Crown winner since 1978. ORB, the winner of the Derby and heavy favorite in the Preakness failed to get the second leg of the Triple Crown checking in a disappointing fourth.

               A field of nine went postward with ORB going off as the 3-5 choice, there were three horses that vied for the second choice with ITSMYLUCKYDAY going off as the slight second choice at 8.50-1, GOVENOR CHARLIE was next at 9.40-1 and fourth choice went to GOLDENCENTS at 9.50-1. As the gates opened GOLDECENTS, the expected speed under Kevin Krigger was not ridden very aggressively while OXBOW under Hall Of Fame rider Gary Stevens was alongside. Sensing a slow early pace and no urgency from Krigger, OXBOW was sent to the lead and established a clear lead before they hit the clubhouse turn. As they moved to the backstretch he still had a clear lead over a stalking GOLDENCENTS through fractions of 23:4, 48:3, 1:13:1. ITSMYLUCKYDAY and jockey John Velazquez wasn’t far off that pace racing in fourth while longshot TITLETOWN FIVE raced in third. As thye moved into the far turn, OXBOW still held a clear lead, with GOLDENCENTS still in pursuit as ITSMYLUCKYDAY moved up in third. ORB, the favorite had tried to move into contention down the backside but couldn’t gain the position over TITLETOWN FIVE on the rail and dropped back some into the far turn.

               Turning into the lane, OXBOW and Gary Stevens had plenty of horse left after getting away with those easy fractions and was strong to the wire holding on to win by almost two lengths. ITSMYLUCKYDAY ran a much improved race over his Derby debacle finishing second by a half length over a closing MYLUTE who checked in third at 10-1; more than six lengths clear of ORB who rallied some in the lane to finish fourth. GOLDENCENTS checked in fifth over DEPARTING who was sixth. WILL TAKE CHARGE, GOVENOR CHARLIE and TITLETOWN FIVE rounded out the order of finish that saw the final time of the race go in 1:57:2.

               ORB was an obvious disappointment to many who bet on him but those who were counting on him to win the Triple Crown and become this super horse were also disappointed. It was hard to find a solid excuse for the horse after the race. He might not of liked being down on the inside part of the track and when he moved into a contending spot down the backside, he quickly bakced up when he couldn’t gain his spot on the rail. He had a clear spot to run into the lane but just didn’t have a big punch. He did close some ground through the lane to finish fourth when it looked like he wasn’t going to beat anyone home. As of this writing, ORB’s trainer Shug McGaughey wanted to run in the Belmont especially after he galloped well this morning. The Belmont Stakes is on Saturday June 8th.

               OXBOW, who many thought ran well in the Derby despite finishing sixth beaten almost 10 lengths, he was up close to the very hot early pace and was actually in front briefly as they moved into the stretch. However in the Preakness, OXBOW was able to get to the early lead, set some soft fractions for those type of horses and then had plenty left in the lane to hold on for the win. ITSMYLUCKYDAY, who was favored against ORB in the Florida Derby when he finished second to him, bounced back with a big effort closing to finish second despite coming wide into the lane. MYLUTE, who finished a closing fifth in the Derby came with a wide run on the turn in the Preakness and finished well for third despite having to close into moderate fractions. DEPARTING, who was the “wiseguy” horse for some experts coming into the race with a 4 for 5 record and a big win in the Illinois Derby got a relatively clean trip but came up empty. GOLDENCENTS, who was the winner of the Santa Anita Derby, flopped in the Kentucky Derby gave up his best chance to win when his jockey didn’t just go to the lead from the start. He stalked and tired to finish fifth and is probably going to turnback in distance when he re-surfaces again. GOVENOR CHARLIE, a Bob Baffert trainee, didn’t run in the Derby because of some issues heading into the race, was on fence for the Preakness, did come for the race but didn’t lift a hoof as they say checking in a well beaten 8th.

               AS we move to the Belmont in a few weeks, we can expect to see OXBOW back, it looks like ORB will run barring any setbacks and I’m sure plenty of others will get on board for “The Test of Champions” run over 1 and ½ miles. Although we won’t have a shot at a Triple Crown it should be a very exciting race and probably a solid betting race.



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